Goggles are generally the best choice for snowsports, but, in certain cases, sunglasses can also be a reliable option.
Wearing the right snow goggles or sunglasses is paramount to protecting your eyes on the slopes. Snow stings when you hit it at high speeds, and the bright sun reflecting off the ice can strain your vision.
Read on to learn more about the advantages or disadvantages of sunglasses or goggles for snow sports.
Yes! We strongly recommend a good pair of skiing goggles when hitting the slopes. Even if it’s your first time snowboarding, wearing a pair of goggles can keep snow, sleet, and other debris from reaching your eyes. It can also help safeguard against the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Additionally, ski goggles can improve your vision by cutting glare from bright sunlight reflecting off the snow. And they’re not limited to skiing — you can protect your eyes with a pair of goggles for any snow sport.
Generally speaking, wearing goggles to snowboard or ski is the smarter choice as compared with sunglasses. This is because they offer:
Yes, ski or snowboard goggles do make a difference by allowing you to see better, especially on snowy days. They protect your eyes from sunlight, kicked-up snow, and debris, all while providing a clear field of view. They also help cut icy wind so you can avoid the sting of ice, wind, and snow.
There are two main variables to consider before you buy a new pair of skiing or snowboarding goggles: the lens color and lens type.
You’ve probably seen goggles available in a variety of lens colors. But the color is about more than coordinating the perfect ski outfit. In fact, the lens color is one of the more important things to consider when you buy a new pair of ski or snowboarding goggles.
Darker lenses or mirrored lenses, like some of the lens styles in our Oakley Goggles collection, block lots of light. This makes them ideal for bright, sunny days.
Alternatively, if you’re carving up the slopes on a cloudy or foggy day, yellow, green, or pink lenses will work better because they let in more light.
For night owls skiing after dark, or in extremely snowy conditions, go with clear lenses. Many of the most popular brands offer goggles with interchangeable lens options, so you can select the correct tint of lens based on the weather conditions or time of day you plan to hit the slopes.
There are two main options: cylindrical and spherical.
Cylindrical lenses are more common. They curve around your head horizontally, and they’re flat vertically.
Spherical lenses are curved both vertically and horizontally, giving you a wider field of view and less distortion compared to cylindrical lenses. But spherical lenses typically cost more than cylindrical lenses.
To reduce fog, choose goggles with an anti-fog treatment and double-layer lenses. Or look for a style that comes with a tiny fan to make the fog dissipate as it builds up.
Make sure your goggles offer UV protection. Lenses and coatings that help reflect UV rays away from the eyes will help prevent eye strain and keep your eyes healthy.
An anti-scratch coating is also a worthy investment. If you spend time in the backcountry or on wooded trails, branches can do some serious damage to your lenses. Even taking your goggles on and off your face can potentially scratch your lenses. And all those tiny scratches accumulated over time can make a big impact on your vision.
Some makers offer prescription goggle inserts that you can swap out for the lens that comes with your frames.
You can always enjoy the best of both worlds with over-the-glasses goggles, also known as OTG goggles. These models allow you to wear your prescription glasses underneath skiing goggles, so you can see every breathtaking detail of the mountain and protect your eyes at the same time.
And for those après ski events when you’re looking for more style than sun protection, consider designer sunglasses in a classic silhouette with on-trend details. Find some stylish frames that fit under OTG ski goggles, or some that wear well on their own after a long day on the mountain.
Yes. While snow goggles are generally a better, safer choice for skiing and snowboarding, sunglasses are probably fine on warmer, clearer days, or if you have other activities in mind as well.
Sunglasses are also lighter weight than goggles, and they can be fitted with your prescription.
Polarized lenses might seem like a great idea at first. After all, they reduce the bright glare from the sun bouncing off an extra shiny slick of ice.
Unfortunately, this could create a safety hazard. Since polarized lenses make it harder to see those icy patches, wearing them could lead to an accident or injury. And if you wear polarized lenses on darker days, they will further darken your vision and make it harder to see the slopes.
Polarized sunglasses for snowboarding may be a good idea on an extra bright day… just keep in mind they may hide potential dangers.
As an alternative, consider goggles that offer interchangeable lenses, so that you can swap lenses as light and weather conditions change. You can also opt for a reflective mirror coating on your lenses. This will help reduce glare and offer the contrast that allows you to see ice and other changes in the terrain.
To make sure your goggles fit comfortably, try them on with your helmet, and with anything else you might wear outside. If you typically wear a hat or head scarf when you ski or snowboard, wear it underneath your helmet when you try on your goggles to achieve the truest fit.
Once you’re wearing your goggles, the face foam should feel snug, without any uncomfortable pressure points. Loosen up the strap if your goggles leave an obvious indentation on your face after wearing them. But be sure they still fit snugly enough to prevent air from flowing inside the lenses.
You shouldn’t feel any air flow through the sides, as this can cause the goggles to fog up and dry out your eyes. Look for frames with foam-covered holes that allow air to flow through properly, without causing them to fog up.
Yes. Oakley is a leading provider of sports eyewear, and a manufacturer of some of the best skiing and snowboarding goggles on the market.
These goggles are strong, sturdy, and thoughtfully engineered to allow the proper amount of airflow while you’re flying down the mountain.
Oakley is known for making skiing and snowboarding goggles that offer an ideal balance of comfort and quality. Their goggles will keep your eyes protected from wind, snow, and ice, and shield you from harsh sunlight and glare.
And they simply look great.
If you decide you want to wear sunglasses when skiing or snowboarding, wraparound sunglasses provide the most coverage from wind, debris, and the sun. Wraparound styles with flexible, grippy temple arms will stay in place. Plus, they’re still comfortable inside your helmet.
To make your wraparound sunglasses even better for skiing and snowboarding, add photochromic lenses to your frames. Photochromic sunglasses, with lenses that darken when exposed to direct sunlight, are ideal for ski sunglasses since they automatically adjust to varying light conditions.
Many sports eyewear makers include frames and lenses specifically engineered to be impact resistant with shatterproof lenses. If you take a spill on the slopes, these protective shades will ensure your eyes are safe. Popular brands to explore for impact-resistant sports frames perfect for skiing or snowboarding include Maui Jim, Dragon, and Wiley X.
Choose prescription sunglasses like the Oakley M2 XL for skiing, so you can enjoy optical clarity and sun protection. These Oakley ski sunglasses are prescription-ready in lightweight O-Matter frames that come in a variety of lens options and colors. You can even choose clear lenses so your Oakleys offer the protection you need in prescription glasses — perfect for skiing at night or on cloudy days.
There are advantages to both ski sunglasses and goggles. However, goggles tend to offer more promising protection. No matter which eyewear you pack on your next adventure, be sure you’re getting the safety, comfort, and clarity you need for every run down the mountain.
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